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INDIANAPOLISIn the Frank Reich era, when you are listing the players this coaching staff has gone out of their way to praise, Zach Pascal would be very high on such a list.

But Pascal and the passing offense didn’t give many reasons for that in 2021.

After strong seasons in 2019 and 2020, Pascal’s numbers regressed majorly this past year.

He caught 38 balls for 382 yards, with dips in catch percentage and yards per target.

Despite that, Chris Ballard mentioned Pascal first when talking about his wideout group following the 2021 campaign.

“Pascal is a good football player,” Ballard said, appearing to defend what the Colts have at wideout. “He had over 600 yards two years in a row.”

It was not a good contract season for Pascal, even if Ballard wants to look at the entirety of his four years in Indy.

Trust is a very important word to coaches though and that is a description they’ve used often with Pascal.

In playing every single game (64 in total) since joining the Colts in 2018, Pascal’s availability has been important at a position where the Colts have struggled in that area.

If you were to poll fans, it’s likely many would immediately write off the 27-year-old Pascal as a re-sign guy based off his play last season.

But Pascal has always been someone the staff has had extra appreciation for. Plus, Ballard has never looked at wide receiver as needing serious upgrades.

Pascal’s first experience as a free agent (he was undrafted in 2017) offers a chance to cash in a bit.

Still though, the struggles he had in 2021 is something the Colts cannot ignore.

The normally reliable Pascal was not there last year.

Does Pascal’s track record before 2021 lead to a second chance? Or will the Colts go off script and indeed look for upgrades at wideout?